1. JUST COMPLAINING OR MORE?
Instead of listening then dispensing advice that’s ignored, the next time this person stops by, ask them whether they want to just vent or if they need advice. If they just want someone to hear them complain, say plainly but politely how their venting makes you feel a little down. Suggest a vent-free week and go from there.
If this person wants advice, offer it if you have any or refer them to an online article or even your HR department if applicable.
2. OFFER A DIFFERENT PERSPECTIVE
Listen to their complaint then summarise it for them the way you see it. Do give them your five cents (if it’s welcome) then ask what they think of it. This pushes the conversation towards something they can act on to help solve their issues.
3. ACTIONS SPEAK LOUDER THAN WORDS
Are you hearing of the same problem over and over again? Ask them what steps they’re taking to address this issue! If they haven’t done anything, offer advice and encourage them to tackle their problems. On the other hand, if they have taken action, give them a pat on the back and assure them that they’re being very mature or professional about it.
Don’t ever feel bad about wanting to reclaim your time. After all, you’re at work to well… work! If you really want to avoid this person’s negativity, perhaps pop in your headphones next time or ask your manager for advice.